Thursday, July 17, 2008

Killer Ghosts (or, Why You Shouldn’t Let Your Kids Watch TV at Night)

Shay loves the National Geographic Channel that gets beamed into our house every day. And since I’d rather he watch something educational rather than the Cartoon Network (our only other local choice for kids entertainment), I admit that sometimes I let him watch more than he ought to just so I can get dinner on the table. Usually, it’s fine, with shows about the Titanic, or about tall buildings around the world – innocuous stuff like that. Once he watched a show called “The Ten Deadliest Animals,” or something like that, and according to him, they all live in India (my apologies to Jill over at the Perlman Update, who is on her way there). He spent the better part of a week quizzing us to confirm that we had no plans to move to that deadly area of the world, populated as it is with giant crocs, scorpions, tigers, snakes that’ll swallow you whole, and so on up to ten.

Last week they had a show about inventions. Apparently, some girl invented a shoe that tracks your steps, like a pedometer, and when you get home you can plug it into the television and watch only as much TV as you walked that day. Keep in mind that I’m getting my summaries from an 8-year-old, so I can’t attest to the accuracy of his descriptions. I’ve never heard of such a fabulous shoe, but if someone did invent it, kudos to her, and where can I get one?

A couple of evenings ago, as I was making dinner, Shay and Aidan had their eyeballs glued to the television. At dinnertime, Shay started recapping a Nat’l Geo show about ghosts. Apparently, the show was trying to determine if ghosts are real or not. Not sure what the show’s producers uncovered, but Shay’s takeaway was that ghosts are real, and they kill people on a regular basis. Aidan wasn’t bothered by the program. He didn’t seem to get the main point, so he happily chowed down his soup while Shay regaled him with stories of killer ghosts.

By bedtime, both boys were frightened. They refused to go into their room, which is of course peopled with killer ghosts. So I let them put their sleeping bags on the floor in my room.

Every day since, during the day, the boys talk logically about how ghosts don’t exist, and even if they did, the dog would bite them if they were mean to us. At night, they drag their sleeping bags down the hall to my room, making sure their door is tightly closed behind them to keep the ghosts locked in their bedroom.

I sympathize, actually, because I remember being frightened of ghosts when I was little. I probably am still, just a little. Back then, I had a pipe cleaner that I twisted into a leash and collar. I imagined into being a ghost dog who would sit next to my bed, wearing that leash and collar, and scare the ghosts away. So maybe I need to find some pipecleaner and make them some ghost dogs. Anyone out there have a better idea? And no, don’t tell me to just turn the TV off – the damage is done, and dinner still needs to be made.


Please. Write your own stuff.